What is your heart’s desire? That should be an easy thing to know about yourself, but the desire of your heart is surprisingly elusive. Tuesday morning I read in my Daily Bible from Psalm 20 … “May He give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.” (20:4, NIV)
Most of us know the right answer – what we think we should desire most – because we learned it in church, but this verse implies something less generic, more specific and personal. The margin of my Bible on the May 6th page has become a timeline of my search for my desire of my own heart.
I wrote this in 1998: “The desire of my heart is to make a difference, to be significant; possibly through politics and government; hopefully on a national level. Yikes! That is the desire of my heart, but it’s scary to commit to ink where I’ll read it every year.”
I’m not surprised I wrote this only four days after winning a campaign for reelection to my City Council seat. It appeared government was my best shot at being a world-changer.
The campaign was hard on me, pushed my introverted personality to the edge and consumed my entire mental RAM. However, I won the election with 86% of the vote, so as it turned out I didn’t have to work so hard, but I took nothing for granted. I was pumped and ready to move on up.
In 2005 I wrote: “Now I’m considering a run for mayor.”
Seven years after that first note, I was getting a lot of encouragement to run for mayor, especially since the incumbent was stepping down. Cyndi and I went on a spiritual retreat at San Angelo specifically to find clarity on this issue, and I heard God telling me to step back from mayor but stay in government. I realized the mayor idea was someone else’s desire for me, not my own.
In 2008, I wrote: “Out of government, working on my book.”
I lost a city-wide election six months before I wrote this, bringing my twelve-year adventure in government to an end. Because I lived the problems and solutions of city government for twelve years, I always wondered how I’d relax once my turn was over. As it turned out God freed me. Almost immediately after my last Council meeting the daily concerns and pressures disappeared completely. It was a shock, actually, that it happened so quickly. It was a gift from God, and confirmation He was still looking out for me. But still, I was confused about where my significance would come from.
My friend Carol Ann recently shared this with me, “There’s a saying in India that a dog walking through a cotton field doesn’t come out wearing a suit of clothes.” It was clear to me, after the election, I had more work to do to understand the desire of my own heart. It wouldn’t just reveal itself because I walked through the field of government.
In 2009 I wrote: “Still my desire to have significant impact on a national scale – maybe through writing or teaching rather than politics.”
In my search for the desires of my heart, I realized the core desire had not changed even if the particulars had. I still wanted to change the world. I just didn’t know how.
In 2011 I wrote: “Two books out, working on third.”
I knew the only way I would learn to write books with significant impact was to keep writing and publishing and perfecting my craft. I had to learn by doing. God was training me for whatever He had next.
In 2013 I wrote: “Learning the true desire of your heart takes time.”
I was finally old enough to understand this. Only fifteen years after I first started writing in the margin.
On the same page of my Daily Bible, about two inches lower, is Psalm 25. “Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me.” In 2013 I wrote in the margin: “This is the desire of my heart.”
And this year, 2014, I wrote: “The desire of my heart is to be this; more importantly, give it away every day.”
My desire, or at least what I can understand of it today, has moved away from those expectations of huge results and toward giving away what I’ve learned. How do I give myself away every day.
I wonder what I’ll write next May 6th?
QUESTION: How about you? What is the desire of your heart? What does it look like from where you are right now? “I run in the path of Your commands, for You have set my heart free.” Psalm 119:32